By Tim Kenneally
UPDATED, 5 p.m: Vanderpump and her husband Ken Todd have issued a statement denying any wrongdoing in the real estate deal, saying that they had no prior knowledge of the plaintiffs and that they entered into their lease “in good faith.”
“We had no prior knowledge of Ryan Carrillo and Andrew Gruver or their claim,” Vanderpump and Todd said. “We took the lease in good faith seven months ago and all of our applications and notices have been posted publicly. Any issue will be between them and the property owner.”
“Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Lisa Vanderpump has found herself swept up in drama yet again — and this time it’s drama of the legal variety.
Vanderpump and her husband, Ken Todd, have been named as defendants in a lawsuit filed by a couple of bar entrepreneurs who claim that they were screwed over by producer Elie Samaha — and that Vanderpump swiped the West Hollywood location where they planned to open their business.
In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, Ryan Allen Carrillo and Andrew Gruver, who previously worked at hotspot The Abbey and its parent company, SBE, claim that they partnered with Samaha to open a sports-themed gay bar and restaurant called Bar Varsity.
The suit contends that Samaha agreed to invest in the venture and convinced the pair to open the new venue at the Santa Monica Blvd. location of Java Detour, which Samaha owns with his brother. According to Carrillo and Gruver, proceeds from a “Demolition Party” at the Java Detour location intended to repay the party financier were instead diverted to pay Java Detour’s past bills.
The suit further claims that Samaha and co-defendants Freddy Braidy and Edward Frumkes declined to attend a meeting with the pair’s main proposed investor in Bar Varsity and that Samaha’s $500,000 pledged investment never materialized. And this, the suit claims, caused other potential investors to shy away from the venture.
And to top everything off, the suit contends, Samaha, Braidy and Frumkes leased the Java Detour property to Vanderpump and Todd for their venue P.U.M.P. Lounge, in breach of their agreement and “without the knowledge or consent of Plaintiffs.”
According to the suit, Vanderpump and Todd were aware of the previous Bar Varsity agreement, and “intended to disrupt the performance of the Agreement.”
Carrillo and Gruver list a number of allegations in their suit, including breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, breach of contract, and deceit/misrepresentation. They’re asking for a temporary restraining order and injunction blocking further construction work on the P.U.M.P. Lounge, plus “[r]estitution to plaintiffs and disgorgement of all ill-gotten gains by Defendants,” along with suit costs and interest.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.